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The tapas. The Gaudí architecture. The nightlife. This week's Smart Deal comes from Virgin Vacations (tel. 888/937-8474; www.virgin-vacations.com) and it's called, simply Barcelona at its Best.

Rooted in history and still proudly Catalan, Barcelona is also as modern as a European city can get. This package is available during the shoulder season, when the crowds are thinner and the weather is more temperate. With this six-night package, you can explore at your leisure. Take in the waterfront, sample tapas and sangria, and observe the ongoing work on Antoni Gaudí's La Sagrada Familia church. Or carve out some time for day trips to the beaches and the mountains.

You have the option to upgrade your hotel: add $100 more for a relatively new hotel close to restaurants and bars. At the other end of the scale, the price tag can climb an extra $950 if you opt for the luxurious boutique Claris Hotel, in the L'Eixample neighborhood.

Trip Type: Independent, air-inclusive

What the Quoted Price Gets You: Round-trip airfare from New York to Barcelona; six nights at the three-star Husa Via Barcelona Hotel, about a 10-minute Renfe train ride from downtown; continental breakfast daily, hotel taxes and services charges, and fuel surcharges.

What Else You'll Have To Pay: Airport and government-imposed taxes and fees, all of which add up to about $84.

When: Select dates in late April and early May; most departures in September and October start at just $849.

Book By: As soon as possible to ensure availability.

Other Details: Departures are available every day of the week through the fall, with significant variation in pricing. A quick check of the booking process revealed that not all gateways are available for all departure dates; in those situations, nearby airports are suggested.

You can add sightseeing options in the form of the Barcelona card (valid for two, three, four, or five days; a three-day card is $48 for adults). Solo travelers can expect to pay a bit more: a sample booking of the basic package started at $1,100 for travel in late April.

All prices are per person and, if lodging is a component of the package, based upon two people traveling together (unless otherwise noted). The prices listed are general starting rates; see "What Else You'll Have to Pay" for details about associated taxes and fees. Base-prices, taxes and fees can vary based on point of departure and time of travel. Trip add-ons like sightseeing tours and meal plans may also increase the price. Check with the tour operator for additional gateways and any single supplements, which is the extra cost that a solo traveler would pay to book the deal.